If you are like me, I get spam in my inbox and have legitimate e-mail mistaken as spam and sent to my bulk folder.
I've also heard of a lot of spam being able to bypass corporate spam filters recently. This can be particularly dangerous if an employee clicks on something that is malicious in nature.
Some experts have tested employees with phishy (spam) e-mails to see if they would fall for the bait. A large percentage of them did.
I mentioned corporations in the paragraph above, but this can happen at any organization.
In keeping with tradition, the spam kings stay on top of current events and ensure their social engineering lures are what would be considered newsworthy and even trendy.
From the Symantec November Report:
Ron Paul, MP3s, and global warming…what do they all have in common? No, it’s not some new presidential campaign. They were all topics leveraged in new spam tactics in October.
Spam is already being seen that impersonates (spoofs) presidential candidates and claims to support environmental causes.
In the case of spam that impersonates environmental causes, a lot of them might include a survey asking for a lot of personal and financial information.
So far as the election campaign spam going around, we will probably see attempts to misdirect campaign contributions, commit identity theft and possibly even be used as a tool to spread misinformation (smear tactics).
One thing to remember is that giving out information to someone you really don't know tends to put you at an extreme risk of becoming an identity theft victim.
So far as financial scams go, the spammers also appear to be very interested in the real estate market:
Last month, Symantec reported how spammers had taken an interest in the housing market slowdown by offering different home refinancing deals. In an ongoing attempt to leverage capital by any means possible, the latest variations suggest releasing equity from your parents’ home.
Anyone, who falls for a not very legitimate scheme involving real estate is probably going to be taken to the cleaners. Sadly, fraudsters often target desperate people looking for a (too good to be true) way out of the mess they are already in.
The current real estate crisis is giving them an easy vehicle to do this!
With a reported 1,000,000 foreclosures pending in the United States and a possible loss of $200 billion to the lenders, this trend particularly bothers me.
The report also mentions Russian Bride scams, pump and dump stock scams using MP3, and spam e-mails using links containing Google searches.
The links containing Google searches misdirect the user to pretty questionable e-commerce sites, which could be (probably are) nothing more than a ploy to steal someone's money.
The information on the links using Google searches is explained in full on the Symantec blog, here.
This latest report indicates that spam is a problem that isn't going away in the near future. Spam is a known vehicle for everything from deceptive advertising to outright scams on the Internet.
Besides protecting your system, which Symantec is in the business of doing, being aware of the social engineering lures is the key to not becoming a Internet fraud statistic. It's refreshing to see Symantech address this with these reports, also.
For the full report, which has more spam variations than I've mentioned in this post, click here.
Symantec also does a blog on current online fraud schemes that are circulating, which can be seen, here.